Conference announcement ‘Perspectives of national cultural policies development in the EU context: critical dialogues’ – Save the dates!

Zagreb, 18-19 May 2017

Europe House, August Cesarec Street 4, Zagreb

The international conference ‘Perspectives of national cultural policies development in the EU context: critical dialogues’ will be taking place in Zagreb on 18-19 May 2017. The conference is organised within the framework of activities of the Jean Monnet project ‘EU Competences and National Cultural Policies: Critical Dialogues’ and it intends to contribute to enhancing the knowledge about the relevant cultural policy processes at the European Union level. By bringing together researchers, cultural professionals and policy-makers it will foster the dialogue between different cultural-policy stakeholders, putting into the spotlight the issue of the need for sustainability of culture, as well as the fact that there is no sustainable development without culture.

The world in which we live is changing rapidly and in it, local and global levels are not any longer easily separated. In the 21st century, cultural policies have to deal with a (post)globalisation context that is marked by cultural, social and economic transformations; issues of rapid technological change and digital shift; social and financial instability that has not lead only to economic crisis, but also crisis of democracy, and has resulted in global socio-cultural inequality and massive migrations. All this has an impact on the conditions under which cultural sector operates today. Old funding systems are changing and available public budgets are decreasing; welfare policies seem to be under threat; cultural institutions are struggling to find sustainable development models and preserve their relevance for citizens’/users’/audience’s needs and interests; the success of their work is being scrutinized; the space for establishment of new types of cultural institutions is shrinking, etc. There is an urgent need for new concepts in cultural leadership that would be capable of addressing the described challenges, could imagine the different future, and lead the path towards new cultural policies for emancipatory and sustainable cultures.

In the context of EU politics, it is visible that culture is approached in a twofold way – as a target, as well as, an instrument in projects of social transformation. Culture has increasingly been used as an instrument for different social or economic objectives; EU international relations are increasingly becoming intercultural, while the place of culture seems to be shifting more and more from public value concept to market commodity. The crisis in Europe and of the European model has implications for cultural field as well; today’s Europe needs to reimagine itself – its aims, values and identities – and needs to find an adequate model for its sustainable cultural development. Due to the subsidiarity principle engrained in the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union has not been involved in formulating an explicit common cultural policy. Nevertheless, the EU has been indirectly contributing to the creation of common cultural policy frameworks through its soft cultural policy instruments and mechanisms that represent de facto policy approach to the various cultural policy issues and their related instruments (e.g. Open Method of Coordination – OMC, the Creative Europe programme, the European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) as the EU cultural programme initiatives, and other similar mechanisms). It is questionable whether such approach is still adequate for today’s cultural and social challenges, and whether national level cultural policies can tackle complex global problems, especially in the context where many other public policies are increasingly influencing the field of culture.

The international conference ‘Perspectives of national cultural policies development in the EU context: critical dialogues’ aims to address the pivotal question whether it is time for a paradigm shift in cultural policies and what are the possible ways forward. We invite researchers, cultural professionals, artists, cultural workers and policy-makers to share their knowledge, visions and concerns. The conference will tackle different challenges for EU and national cultural policies today including:

  • Innovative cultural policies: what new models are there?
  • Explicit and implicit cultural policies: will culture thrive in EU and its Member states?
  • EU and cultural policy issues: limits of subsidiarity?
  • EU soft policy mechanisms impacts on national contexts (OMC, Structured Dialogue, Creative Europe, lessons learned from the European Capital of Culture competition)
  • Culture in the context of post-globalisation: what role for cultural policy research?
  • Digital shift and its implication to sustainable culture of the future
  • Socio-cultural inequalities and crises (democratic, migratory, economic); migrations and intercultural dialogue from the cultural policy perspective
  • Achieving sustainability in cultural development: which way forward?

The conference will be organised in the form that allows plenty of discussions. In addition to two keynotes addressing EU and national level issues of cultural policies, main issues tackled in the sessions will be:

  • Cultural policies and the crisis in/of European Union – how to achieve sustainable cultural development?
  • Strategies and tendencies of local cultural development in Europe: the role and impact of European Capital of Culture project
  • What kind of European comparative cultural policy research is needed today?
  • National cultural policies in need of vision, innovation and leadership.

Please save the dates. Registration will be open soon and all information will be available at the project website

For more information please contact us at

Publication opportunities: Within the framework of the CULPOL project, the publication of the special issue of the journal Croatian International Relations Review (CIRR) focusing on the European Union and cultural policy issues is planned for 2018. Please stay tuned for the call for proposals.

Conference materials:



CULPOL-Conference-Report 2017